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A Journal on Anesthesiology, Resuscitation, Analgesia and Intensive Care

Official Journal of the Italian Society of Anesthesiology, Analgesia, Resuscitation and Intensive Care
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SUPPORT VENTILATION  SMART 2002 Milan, May 29-31, 2002

Minerva Anestesiologica 2002 May;68(5):346-50

language: English

Normocapnia vs hypercapnia

Kavanagh B.

From the Department of Critical Care Medicine & The Lung Biology Program, The Research Institute, Hospital for Sick Children, Interdepartmental Division of Critical Care
University of Toronto


Initial Implementation of Mechanical Ventilation was focused on providing adequate oxygenation and relief of work of breathing. Over the last few decades it has become apparent that stretch-induced lung injury, associated with normocapnia or hypocapnia, is a real phenomenon. Attempts to reduce stretch-induced injury led to development of permissive hypercapnia in the neonatal population, and later to its acceptance as a standard of care in adult patients with ARDS. Here, the elevated CO2 was a result of reduced minute ventilation, and was considered to be a by-product of the technique that could be tolerated in most instances. It is now apparent that hypercapnia by itself can be protective. In addition, hypocapnia can be harmful. These observations led to the hypothesis of therapeutic hypercapnia, i.e., deliberate production of high CO2 as a goal in the care of critically ill patients.

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